Investigating the effects of selected website tools on consumer trust and risk perceptions in e-commerce

Khoza, Sibusiso V
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Inspiring trust and lowering risk perceptions of website visitors is necessary for the success of e-commerce. However, there is insufficient evidence on the most effective tools and website features for building trust and reducing risk in the online context. Building on previous literature on using website tools to increase Trust and lower Risk in e-commerce, this study carried out a quasi-experiment to examine the effectiveness of a Live Chat tool versus Customer Reviews increasing Trust and Lowering Risk perceptions among South African website visitors. This study was a randomized online quasi-experiment with 101 participants split across four treatment groups representing four different versions of an e-commerce website in the South African context. Data was collected by means of an online survey of participants. ANOVA, correlation and regression analysis were used to analyse the data. The study found support for the logic that the Live Chat website tool is more effective than Customer Reviews in increasing Trust and lowering Risk perceptions among visitors to an e-commerce website. The study also confirmed the importance of Information Quality to Trust and Risk, and the consequent effects of Trust, Risk and Benefits on Purchase Intention. As a result this study recommends that SMMEs in South Africa looking to succeed in e-commerce with a limited budget need to prioritise Live Chat website tools over Customer Review tools to establish Trust and reduce Risk perceptions among new visitors
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in the field of Digital Business, 2021